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Old 02-18-2015, 04:47 PM   #1
ppatrick1090 OP
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KLR 650 or Ural Gear up?

Hi Guys
I am pretty new at this forum . after riding pavement for 40 years in Europe and in the USA I am planning a trip to Padagonia from Washington DC
I ride now a BMW K1600 GTL First i was looking at the KLR and trying to figure out what I have to carry, extra fuel etc and came across a Ural dealer in MD
I know the reputation of the Russian Bike, but the " New one" fuel injection disk break and plenty of storage ..
Any advises?
ps: i am 62 year old and don't feel picking up the KLR on this gravel road

Thanks
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:50 PM   #2
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I've ridden both extensively including a few thousand miles on the KLR in the Andes. The magazine I write for had a Gear Up for a couple years and we used it extensively. When I think of riding the Ural more than 500 miles.... Let me put it to you this way. I'd rather you tap on my temples with a tack hammer for a few hours than spend the same time riding that thing.

KLR. Hands down.
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppatrick1090 View Post
Hi Guys
I am pretty new at this forum . after riding pavement for 40 years in Europe and in the USA I am planning a trip to Padagonia from Washington DC
I ride now a BMW K1600 GTL First i was looking at the KLR and trying to figure out what I have to carry, extra fuel etc and came across a Ural dealer in MD
I know the reputation of the Russian Bike, but the " New one" fuel injection disk break and plenty of storage ..
Any advises?
ps: i am 62 year old and don't feel picking up the KLR on this gravel road

Thanks
Nata Harli, who is older than you by about a decade, had a ural with a side car for about a summer. IIRC, he fucking hated it. I mean, he loved it, and he rode it, but it never ran right, and the fuel economy sucked. On the plus side, the side car has advantages. On the minus side, it sucks if the damn thing doesn't run.

IMHO, I don't like KLR's either. I'd rather ride my bike, a '96 R1100GS, but since it's awful heavy...

Do you know Simon Gandalfini? He rode a fucking moped from around Ushuaia all the way to the USA. With a small suitcase bungee'd to the back seat. He's about a hundred years old now, and wasn't much younger when he did the moped thing.

The reality is that any bike can make the trip. Your 1600 will be fine. Heavy, but fine.

If I was doing it again, I'd do it on a custom street-legal honda xr650r. If money wasn't a problem, I'd do it on a custom xr650r. Or the new BMW 650 dakar, customized with a big tank.

Ask Throttlemeister how he liked his 1000 mile range bmw 650. I think he loved it.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:09 PM   #4
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No offense to the post above, but I happen to have a BMW Dakar, and while it's a great bike, I'd still take a KLR over it. The KLR is about as simple as an anvil. It's also as reliable.

If you're willing to ride an XR650L, there's no reason to not want to take a KLR, certainly the new one with better shocks and seat.

I still contend, the Ural is a terrible idea for a number of reasons. For starters, they're really horrible to ride for many miles. No matter how you address the ergonomics, you'll still end up slumped over at the shoulders, all of your weight on that terrible seat. Plus, riding a Ural is fun BECAUSE it sucks. When you hit the throttle it jerks right. Hit the brakes, it jerks left. It cooks your right leg when it's hot, drives every bump deep into your spine due to the lack of suspension, and everything just gets worse with the more crap you pile into it.

KLR. Not the most sexy bike ever. It's like a donkey in the most endearing way.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:34 PM   #5
ppatrick1090 OP
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Well.. I kind of knew it.. in 1974 I did paris dakar on r90 with sidecar
so I know about side car. little to the left little to the right what I am thinking is how much you can carry on that Ural and you don't have to pick it up...
Plus price wise is it double or more...
Thanks guys
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
No offense to the post above, but I happen to have a BMW Dakar, and while it's a great bike, I'd still take a KLR over it. The KLR is about as simple as an anvil. It's also as reliable.

If you're willing to ride an XR650L, there's no reason to not want to take a KLR, certainly the new one with better shocks and seat.

I still contend, the Ural is a terrible idea for a number of reasons. For starters, they're really horrible to ride for many miles. No matter how you address the ergonomics, you'll still end up slumped over at the shoulders, all of your weight on that terrible seat. Plus, riding a Ural is fun BECAUSE it sucks. When you hit the throttle it jerks right. Hit the brakes, it jerks left. It cooks your right leg when it's hot, drives every bump deep into your spine due to the lack of suspension, and everything just gets worse with the more crap you pile into it.

KLR. Not the most sexy bike ever. It's like a donkey in the most endearing way.
I said xr650r, not xr650l. They're totally different bikes.

I've already done the Alaska/Ushuaia ride. Wisconsin-Wiseman Alaska-Wisconsin was on my '96 R1100RS. I also rode the R1100RS from Wisconsin to Tampico, Mexico, and back. The only thing I didn't like about the RS was that the suspension (I had Wilburs shocks) wasn't enough for the topes. I rode the '96 R1100GS from Wisconsin to Ushuaia. It was, in many ways, the perfect bike for the trip. 11 gallon tank, plenty of power and protection, big Ohlins shocks, super reliable motor and drive train. From Texas to Panama I rode with a woman who was riding a KLR. Both bikes were very well suited for the job, but I prefered the big BMW for the ride we were on. Of we were doing more back-road exploring, I'd have liked and even lighter bike, hence the xr650r choice. And although the KLR has a strong following, I, personally, don't like it. I also know a few guys who have had catastrophic KLR motor failures in the middle of nowhere, but I don't personally know anyone who had serious trouble with their 605 Dakar bikes.

Certainly instead of a KLR I'd prefer a DR650. Or anything that can handle sand better than a KLR.

The other very well received bikes are the big (950 and 990) KTMs.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:00 PM   #7
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Hi Patrick,

TLDR: KLR would be my choice of the two bikes.

Welcome to ADVrider! DC to Patagonia is a loooooong ride. And once you get to the end of the world there is the matter of selling or shipping your bike. It is much easier to sell a smaller less expensive bike in the free-zone in Punta Arenas or over in Paraguay at the border. Others have had luck selling their used travel bikes in South America to fellow travelers in Buenos Aires at the end of their travels.

The thing is, most travelers buying bikes down in South America are looking for an inexpensive mid sized or smaller bike to travel on. I believe this should enter into your considerations unless you plan on shipping this bike back from South America at the end of your trip which is usually not economic for a beat up travel bike. This would favor the KLR over the Ural. Anotther inexpensive used travel bike that is popular is the Suzuki DR650.

I am your age and rode a smaller 250 Kawasaki down to South America from the U.S. I favor the smaller bikes as they are easy on gas, tires, sprockets as well as being easy to pick up, ride into a hotel lobby for overnight parking, that sort of thing. Plus they are cheap to buy in the States as they are usually wife bikes that have been lightly ridden.

This is probably not a great idea for you, since it took me a while to downsize from a big BMW to a lightweight 250 and learning how to cut down my load to the minimum. You can’t load much on a 250. I imagine a mid-sized 650 would suit you better and will seem quite small coming from a big BMW.

I wouldn’t worry too much about dropping your bike. Back 20 years ago when I would pull into a gas station say in rural Mexico and put my foot down on an oil slick and dump my BMW there was always a helpful soul or two who would come over and help me pick it up. Same deal on backroads. Even last year I would just wave down the next pickup and they will pull over and jump out to help you. One nice thing about Latin America is that they respect their elders so old farts like me have an advantage. Heck, when I came to a landslide 2 years ago out in the sticks in Colombia that left me scratching my head, a couple campesinos (farmers) jumped out of the bushes and helped me push the bike across a narrow footpath to get to the other side.


Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:45 PM   #8
ppatrick1090 OP
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Thanks a lot John

I am planning of driving back... go around South America I don't know if it wise but so far this is my plan.
I have a hard time coming from a K1600 ( the cadillac) to a carburetor mono cylinder like the KTR 650 to a 250.. I don't know about that .
I was thinking of trading my 1600 for the new 800 adventure larger tank etc but again the idea of picking up this bike .... that is why i thought of the Ural with sidecar .. so I am leaning tour the KLR
Thanks
Patrick





Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Hi Patrick,

TLDR: KLR would be my choice of the two bikes.

Welcome to ADVrider! DC to Patagonia is a loooooong ride. And once you get to the end of the world there is the matter of selling or shipping your bike. It is much easier to sell a smaller less expensive bike in the free-zone in Punta Arenas or over in Paraguay at the border. Others have had luck selling their used travel bikes in South America to fellow travelers in Buenos Aires at the end of their travels.

The thing is, most travelers buying bikes down in South America are looking for an inexpensive mid sized or smaller bike to travel on. I believe this should enter into your considerations unless you plan on shipping this bike back from South America at the end of your trip which is usually not economic for a beat up travel bike. This would favor the KLR over the Ural. Anotther inexpensive used travel bike that is popular is the Suzuki DR650.

I am your age and rode a smaller 250 Kawasaki down to South America from the U.S. I favor the smaller bikes as they are easy on gas, tires, sprockets as well as being easy to pick up, ride into a hotel lobby for overnight parking, that sort of thing. Plus they are cheap to buy in the States as they are usually wife bikes that have been lightly ridden.

This is probably not a great idea for you, since it took me a while to downsize from a big BMW to a lightweight 250 and learning how to cut down my load to the minimum. You can’t load much on a 250. I imagine a mid-sized 650 would suit you better and will seem quite small coming from a big BMW.

I wouldn’t worry too much about dropping your bike. Back 20 years ago when I would pull into a gas station say in rural Mexico and put my foot down on an oil slick and dump my BMW there was always a helpful soul or two who would come over and help me pick it up. Same deal on backroads. Even last year I would just wave down the next pickup and they will pull over and jump out to help you. One nice thing about Latin America is that they respect their elders so old farts like me have an advantage. Heck, when I came to a landslide 2 years ago out in the sticks in Colombia that left me scratching my head, a couple campesinos (farmers) jumped out of the bushes and helped me push the bike across a narrow footpath to get to the other side.


Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:45 PM   #9
bananaman
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Jdowns knows his shit. I hadn't even thought about shipping home.

Shipping a Ural sidecar rig back to the US will be $$$$. You'll probably have to go by sea. I can't imagine it for less than US$5,000.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:06 PM   #10
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Jdowns knows his shit. I hadn't even thought about shipping home.

Shipping a Ural sidecar rig back to the US will be $$$$. You'll probably have to go by sea. I can't imagine it for less than US$5,000.
$5K seems a bit steep to me. While I've never shipped a bike from that part of the world, I did ship my Versys last year from east coast USA to the UK for under $1K (by sea). YMMV. To add in on the KLR vs. Ural discussion, I've owned two KLRs and I do have to agree with the simple & reliable posts. However, personally I find them very lack luster when it comes to driving enjoyment. Don't know if the Urals are any better in that regard having never owned one. If you go the 650cc route, there are plenty of other options out there besides the KLR that are just as reliable (DR650, DL650, BMW, etc...)

Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck, and be sure to post up some pictures once you get underway!
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:07 PM   #11
bananaman
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I just remembered meeting a 70 year old German on a hack in Peru just south of the Ecuador border. He was on a hybrid: KTM motor and front end, mounted to a BMW shaft rear end, Swiss or Swedish made side car. He had that sidecar loaded!

IMHO, he'd have been better off with any old jeep!
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:13 PM   #12
bananaman
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Originally Posted by XC Rider View Post
$5K seems a bit steep to me. While I've never shipped a bike from that part of the world, I did ship my Versys last year from east coast USA to the UK for under $1K (by sea). YMMV. To add in on the KLR vs. Ural discussion, I've owned two KLRs and I do have to agree with the simple & reliable posts. However, personally I find them very lack luster when it comes to driving enjoyment. Don't know if the Urals are any better in that regard having never owned one. If you go the 650cc route, there are plenty of other options out there besides the KLR that are just as reliable (DR650, DL650, BMW, etc...)

Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck, and be sure to post up some pictures once you get underway!
Motorcycles from South America to North America by air are in the $2,000 range. By sea, not much cheaper. A hack is going to take up triple the space.

But since the OP says he's going round trip, shipping doesn't matter.
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Old 02-19-2015, 05:23 PM   #13
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Motorcycles from South America to North America by air are in the $2,000 range.
You can make a loop back up the East side and ship the bike out of Bogota for $900 to $1000 depending on how big a bike you got. All the more reason to go see Brazil, the Guyanas, and Venezuela
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Old 02-19-2015, 05:31 PM   #14
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Met a couple in La Paz who'd been sponsored by Ural's USA importer--brand new, free, fully-prepped sidecar rig for the trip. They broke down a lot. Plenty of effort went into not saying nasty stuff about the Ural. Me and my KLR (and everyone else I hung with there, on a ragged collection of BMW, Kawasaki, and miscellaneous brands) left them far, far behind.

On the other hand, once they finally got to Ushuaia they had no trouble whatsoever selling the beast to a guy who'd bicycled down and wanted to do something different on the return trip. Proving.....there are no hard and fast rules.

The Ural looks classy when it's parked. It attracts a lot of attention. However, it sure appeared to be a piece of trash, functionally speaking.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 02-19-2015, 05:49 PM   #15
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Klr

As a nubie to adv travel, my opinion probably isn't worth much, but I'm going to give it anyway. I wouldn't consider the Ural. I do know about downsizing from a large touring bike to a mid-weight KLR650. Having gone through years of touring bikes (Harleys primarily), I currently ride a '12 Goldwing, which I really like. At 64, I can appreciate its consideration of my older bones and skinny butte. That being said, despite its weight of about 900 lbs it also handles like a sports bike. Lots of torque and lots of fun and 500 miles in a day and very little fatigue. But, I'm headed to Mexico in the next few weeks and that's not a bike for that trip. Looked at a number of them and the choice came down to what I wanted to pay for that would do the job that needs to be done. Come on now, anything that has two wheels that I don't have to pedal is pure heaven (if it doesn't break down to much). My choices came down to the DR650 and the KLR650. Found a deal on an '11 KLR. You know, I've been riding that thing for the past eight months and it kind of grows on you. Make a few mods. Add some farkles. You can afford it. And you can work on it. Funny how that big 'Wing sits more these days. The KLR showed me that more displacement and weight aren't don't necessarily translate to more fun or utility. More and more I am admiring those folks who are running less than 650s. I think there are lots of bikes out there 250s to 650s that do a great job. An inmate friend is making a long journey on a 450 cc KTM. Another went from the great northwest down through Mexico and then the Trans American Trail on a Yamaha WR250. He left his GS at home. Kind of like the old Miller Lite commercial. Sometimes less is more.
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